Andrew and David Raffle specialise in the dying art of designing new and restoring historic summerhouses and garden structures with thatched roofs. This means working with moss and heather as well as more wellknown rustic materials. Their site is marvellous, particularly the picture gallery here and features articles on an interesting range of projects including:
* The Heather House at Florence Court, County Fermanagh, home to the Earls of Enniskillen, for the National Trust
* The reconstruction of the 18th century Witches Hut at Hestercombe Gardens (pictured above)
* A new hermitage in the Wilderness Garden at Elton Hall in Cambridgeshire
* The Moss House in the Spring Gardens, Belvoir Castle (pictured below)
* Gettting hold of 6,000 clean knuckle bones to repair Knuckle bone Arbour, Castle Ashby
According to an article in Country Life, both brothers served apprenticeships as thatchers in Derbyshire, but in 1983 they decided to specialise in building and restoring rustic huts. The article continues:
"After much historical research, they embarked on designing their own. 'We thatch with heather, straw or reed, and we use timber which still has the bark on it,' says David Raffle. 'Some people ask us to put in a hidden door, so we build in a bit of curved wood which can act as a door handle, opening into a secret storage space behind.'"
I also particularly like their chicken shed, pictured below.